Take a bow NZ

April 7, 2014

Kiwiblog lists New Zealand’s place in a variety of  international rankings:

  • Rule of Law 6th
  • Economic Freedom 5th
  • Best to do business in 2nd
  • Least Corrupt 1st
  • Open Data 4th
  • Prosperous 5th
  • Best to be a woman 7th
  • Competitiveness 18th
  • Peaceful 3rd
  • Democratic 5th
  • Human Development 6th
  • Best for working women 1st
  • Freedom 1st
  • Open Budget 2nd
  • Best to be a mother 4th
  • Humanitarian responses 3rd
  • Smallest gender gap 5th
  • Generous 1st
  • Least failed 7th
  • Trade competitiveness 4th
  • Social progress 1st

No-one is suggesting there isn’t room for improvement in many areas.

But this is a list of which we can be proud.

Take a bow New Zealand.


It is about trust

April 1, 2014

The latest poll shows trust matters to voters.

David Cunliffe’s problems with the trust he used to hide donations has turned off voters.

In the latest 3 News-Reid Research poll, when asked if his actions were worthy of a Prime Minister, 65 percent of voters, almost two-thirds, said “no”, while only 27 percent said “yes”. . .

Kiwiblog shows support for most opposition leaders goes up after they’re elected but Cunilffe’s trend has been all down hill.
Given he’s been caught faking his CV, bungling policy announcements, using a trust and then trying to say he wasn’t wealthy, this is no more than he deserves.

Free enterprise best anti-poverty measure

January 27, 2014

Dr. Mark J. Perry provides the chart of the century:
wordpoverty2-600x387

 

. . . the chart above could perhaps qualify as the “chart of the century” because it illustrates one of the most remarkable achievements in human history: the 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years, from 26.8% of the world’s population living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) in 1970 to only 5.4% in 2006. (Source: The 2009 NBER working paper “Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income,” by economists Maxim Pinkovskiy (MIT) and Xavier Sala-i-Martin (Columbia University).

What accounts for this great achievement that you never hear about? AEI president Arthur Brooks explains in the video below, summarized here:

It turns out that between 1970 and 2010 the worst poverty in the world – people who live on one dollar a day or less – that has decreased by 80 percent (see chart above). You never hear about that.

It’s the greatest achievement in human history, and you never hear about it.

80 percent of the world’s worst poverty has been eradicated in less than 40 years. That has never, ever happened before.

So what did that? What accounts for that? United Nations? US foreign aid? The International Monetary Fund? Central planning? No.

It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

I will state, assert and defend the statement that if you love the poor, if you are a good Samaritan, you must stand for the free enterprise system, and you must defend it, not just for ourselves but for people around the world. It is the best anti-poverty measure ever invented.

Politicians on the left like to think they are the champions of the poor.

Yet they fight tooth and nail against free trade, denounce globalisation and promote policies which would get in the way of free enterprise.

Rather than policies which assist free enterprise they proffer ones which get in the way of it, favouring redistribution rather than growth.

Hat tip: Kiwiblog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2013 in review

January 1, 2014

The clever WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 370,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 16 days for that many people to see it. . . 

The top referring sites were:

  1. nominister.blogspot.co.nz
  2. keepingstock.blogspot.co.nz
  3. kiwiblog.co.nz
  4. nzconservative.blogspot.co.nz
  5. twitter.com

The most prolific commenters were:

  • 1 TraceyS 1383 comments
  • 2 robertguyton 811 comments
  • 3 Andrei 722 comments
  • 4 Viv 629 comments
  • 5 Armchair Critic 448 comments

Thank you to the people who write the blogs which refer readers here, the people who visit and the people who comment.

Click here to see the complete report.


This doesn’t mean Maori are over-represented

December 10, 2013

Kiwiblog makes an interesting observation on the make-up of parliament:

Incidentally with Williams and Hayes both replacing non-Maori MPs, the number of MPs in Parliament of Maori descent is a record 25 out of 121, or 21% of Parliament. That is a significant over-representation. The makeup of the Maori MPs in Parliament is:

  • Maori seats 7
  • General seats 6
  • List seats 12

Very very hard to claim you need the Maori seats to continue, to maintain effective Maori representation in Parliament.

The breakdown of the 25 Maori MPs is also interesting:

  • National 9
  • Labour 7
  • Greens 3
  • Maori 3
  • NZ First 1
  • Mana 1
  • Independent 1

That might be over-representation as a percentage.

It doesn’t mean Maori are over-represented.

As Te Ururoa Flavell pointed out most Maori seats are too big which makes effective representation much more difficult.

The solution isn’t more Maori seats, it’s getting rid of them.

That would add another general seat in the South Island and several in the North, all of which would be smaller and easier to service than the biggest electorates are now.

The Royal Commission which designed MMP said there would be no need for Maori seats under this voting system.

That the majority of Maori MPs hold general or list seats proves that.


Learning to be leader

November 12, 2013

As  backbencher you can pick your fights. An opposition leader can too but has to be careful about which s/he picks.

On the lists of things you should be above are attacks on a by-election candidate in a seat your party is expected to win but David Cunliffe made the mistake of getting stuck in to Matthew Doocey, National’s candidate for Christchurch East.

That has provided Doocey with the free publicity of a letter to the editor:

I am writing to express my surprise at the personal and desperate attack on me by the Leader of the Labour Party. I was not given the opportunity to respond to comments from David Cunliffe which were published on Friday November 8.

For the record I have expressed no interest and am not even thinking about any other election other than the one taking place right now in Christchurch East. I have been working hard nor for a number of weeks in what to date has been a positive campaign: my Facebook page demonstrates this.

Mr Cunliffe has inadvertently given my campaign another confidence-building boost, as I attempt to make history and take thsi seat from labour.

It was only one week ago  that the prime minister launched my campaign and it would appear I am already seen as a threat the the Opposition leader. Surely this must be some kind of political record.

For Mr Cunliffe to target me as some sort of carpetbagger is both insulting and wrong. I grew up in Christchurch and I”ll be here long after the by-election. Unlike other candidates I was was not parachuted in from Auckland at the expense of local nominees.

I’m running a strong campaign in Christchurch East and have had tremendous support from almost all of the senior MPs in John Key’s National caucus.

I can only assume Mr Cunliffe’s outburst is a symptom of desperation and.or poor polling for Labour in Christchurch East, where the community is questioning where the nearly 100 years of Labour representation has got them. Matthew Doocey, National candidate Christchurch East.

As is the way today, the free publicity doesn’t stop with The Press.

The letter has been picked up by CoNZervative, Kiwiblog and Keeping Stock.

When a mammoth attack a mouse and loses, the mammoth looks much smaller.

An aspiring Prime Minister shouldn’t even notice a by-election candidate from another party, let alone launch a personal attack on him.

This is the second time in a week Cunliffe has got publicity for looking less than leader-like.

The first was for his refusal to appear on The Farming Show with Jamie Mackay in case he didn’t get a fair hearing and would be made fun of.

I covered that here and the story has also been picked up by Keeping Stock and Kiwiblog.

When you’re opposition leader you can pick your challenges but an aspiring Prime Minister wouldn’t turn down a regular slot on nationwide-radio for fear of being made fun of.

This was a mistake on several counts, the three biggest being that the slot is now taken by Green co-leader Russel Norman; that he’s supposedly rediscovered the regions and is trying to appeal to them and that’s where the show gets blanket coverage; and  it makes him look like a lesser leader.


Right and wrong not left and right

October 23, 2013

A former Labour MP who worked with people from across the political spectrum on a local body campaign said he’d come to the conclusion that left wing people were far more likely to see things through a political lens than those from the right.

Some people are trying to turn Len Brown’s affair into a right wing conspiracy.

It’s not.

Cameron Slater, who broke the story on his blog Whaleoil, is from the blue end of the political spectrum.

But he doesn’t let that get in the way of his posts. He’d have run the story regardless of the mayor’s political affiliation.

That’s one of the reasons his blog is so popular. Like David Farrar on Kiwiblog, he’ll give praise and criticism where it’s due regardless of the subject’s politics.

Other people from the right had some involvement with Bevan Chuang but Jane Clifton points out:

There’s been much tut-tuttery about the fact that the source of the story was Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil, one of the country’s best-read blogs, which is aggressively pro-National Party to boot. Slater’s father ran the campaign for Brown’s closest mayoralty rival, a campaign Brown’s inamorata was close to through her friendship with another campaign activist. This has brought claims she was secretly working for the other side. Which just goes to show there’s plenty of hypocrisy, paranoia and self-delusion to go around. It’s common for journalists and political junkies in the twittersphere to denounce Whale Oil as “gutter” blogging. But not for the first time, the gutter-shunning media have piled onto Slater’s ruck without a second’s hesitation.

Allegations that this is a deliberate smear campaign generated from within the National Party to destroy a left-leaning mayor are somewhat ambitious. To the best of my knowledge, the National Party cannot make a married man have an affair. For two years. Or trick him into sending silly texts that might be kept and used against him. Or force him to conduct how’s-your-father in the Ngati Whatua conference room of the council chambers.

There’s also the inconvenient fact that the blog did not run the story till after the local body elections in which Brown was safely re-elected. He is unsackable. . .

But the political views of those involved in the affair and its exposure is irrelevant anyway.

This isn’t about right and left, it’s about right and wrong.

Andrew McMillan provides a timeline of events which show:

Brown, who portrayed himself as a loving family man  and committed Christian had a prolonged affair.

He had a sexual trysts in council premises on council time.

The woman with whom he had the relationship was on a council advisory board. That’s not a direct employee but as mayor he was in a position of power and she could be considered to be vulnerable.

He wrote her a reference, and as a side issue he admitted writing worthless references:

Was it an abuse of power to provide a reference for Bevan Chuang?

It was the very early stages of us knowing each other. I have provided many references in supports of lots and lots of friends and people that I know. The letter of support I wrote was a reasonable letter. I tend to be quite positive in my writing for the many people I write references for. It wasn’t a reference that was requested or provided for that was out of the norm. It was, for me, a fairly typical reference done at a time when, quite frankly, we hadn’t known each other all that long. . .

A reference from the mayor would carry considerable weight but his words suggest he dashes them off frequently and in this case without knowing the subject all that long.

Whether that is appropriate for a mayor might be moot but the impact on his family from his infidelity and what it says about his character is not.

Whatever his politics and those of the people who exposed him, he is in the wrong.

Whether or not it will require a resignation will depend on the outcome of a council inquiry.

But whatever it determines won’t make his behaviour right.


One of biggest electorates will get smaller

October 8, 2013

Statistics New Zealand’s release of census data yesterday gives the first indication of changes in electorates.

  • The number of electorates will increase from 70 to 71 at the next general election.
  • The number of North Island general electorates will increase from 47 to 48.
  • The number of Māori electorates will remain at seven.
  • The number of general electorates in the South Island is set at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993.
  • In a 120-seat parliament (excluding any overhang seats), a total of 71 electorates will result in 49 list seats being allocated. This is one less list seat than in the 2011 General Election.
  • The Representation Commission can now review the electorate boundaries for the next general election.

The excel sheet under downloads on the link above shows population changes in electorates.

Kiwiblog has checked that out and found:

Since the 2006 census, the SI electoral population has grown by 3.7%, the NI by 6.6% and the Maori electoral population by just 0.9%.

The seats that are the most over quota and must lose territory are:

  1. Auckland Central 70,406
  2. Hunua 68,951
  3. Helensville 68,026
  4. Selwyn 67,818
  5. Rodney 67,134
  6. Wigram 65,433
  7. Waitaki 64,962
  8. Hamilton East 64,577
  9. Waimakariri 64,454
  10. Wellington Central 64,374
  11. Rangitata 64,142
  12. East Coast Bays 64,005
  13. Maungakiekie 63,274
  14. Epsom 62,990
  15. Tāmaki 62,779
  16. Tauranga 62,741

So those 16 seats must shrink. What seats are under the 5% tolerance and must grow:

  1. Christchurch East 45,967
  2. Port Hills 53,667
  3. East Cost 53,960
  4. Christchurch Central 54,104
  5. Rangitikei 56,364

The other 49 seats can stay the same size in theory. But it is likely many will have some change because of flow on effects from neighbours.

The migration after Christchurch’s earthquakes is probably the reason for most of the growth in Waimakariri and Selwyn.

They will lose some ground to boost the Christchurch electorates which now have too few people.

Selwyn might have to push south into Rangitata which will then extend into Waitaki, both of which are over quota. It would make sense for the area closest to Timaru which moved from what was the Aoraki Electorate into Waitaki, to be in Rangitata.

Waitaki will have to shrink. It is now 34,888 square kilometres in area, the third biggest general electorate in the country. Any reduction in its size will be welcomed by its MP Jacqui Dean and her constituents.


Labour threatening superannuation

September 9, 2013

Kiwiblog points out that if Labour enacts what is an effective minimum wage of $18.40 it will have an impact on superannuation.

The pension is based on 66% of the average wage for a couple. If the average wage goes up, as it will if the ‘living wage’ is introduced then superannuation will too unless Labour changes the way it is calculated.

The party is already proposing to increase the age of eligibility for superannuation because it says it’s not affordable now.

What changes will they have to make to ensure it’s affordable if they keep it based on 66% of the average wage?

Even if, as is inevitable, they have to accept that the ‘living wage’ is unsustainable, one of their other policies will impact on superannuation.

They’re promising tax increases.

The pension is based on the average wage after tax.

When taxes fall, as they have under National, the average after-tax wage increases and so does the pension.

When taxes increase the average after-tax wage will fall. It would be political suicide to cut the pension but if they increase taxes and do nothing else pensions won’t increase or will do so more slowly.

Whichever of the policies you look at, the current rate of superannuation is under threat under a LabourGreen government.


Hollow promises from hollow men

September 4, 2013

Kiwiblog has a useful guide to which aspiring Labour leader is promising what.

But how much are these promises worth?

When Jamie Mackay said on the Farming Show yesterday, that the leadership race was turning into a lolly scramble, Labour MP Damien O’Connor said:

“There’s no kind of lolly scramble because we don’t have the lollies to give away unfortunately. . .

Then Mackay mentioned the living wage and O’Connor said:

“That’s one of the proposals from one of the candidates. . .  well, maybe two . . . I’m sure caucus when we appoint the new leader will go through, look at all the ideas that were thrown out through this process and make sure we have a credible bunch of policies in the lead up to the next election. . . “

So these are merely ideas that are being thrown out, and expensive ideas that even one of their backbench colleagues recognises as being unaffordable.

They’re not real promises about real policy.

They’re empty exercises in vote-buying.

They’re hollow promises from hollow men.


New face, old ideas

September 1, 2013

Yesterday’s speeches by Labour’s aspiring leaders (reported in the Herald, Stuff and Kiwiblog) show that even when the party has a new face it will still have old ideas.

Their ideas are focussed on redistribution rather than growth.

Their ideas are based on higher taxes to enable higher spending.

Their ideas are bad ideas.

They are worse than those of Helen Clark’s government which put New Zealand into recession before the global financial crisis hit the rest of the world.

They are ones which show they haven’t learned from recent history and that they are blind to the improvements National has made, delivering better results with less money.

They are the ones which reward their union funders with policies which are ultimately to the detriment of workers.

They are the same old failed policies which would take the country backwards, make it poorer and make life even more difficult for the most vulnerable.

Regardless of which face is pedalling these old ideas, he will provide everyone who understands the stupidity of veering left, undoing the good that’s been done, and reversing much needed improvements, with the imperative to vote centre-right.


Compare and contrast

August 21, 2013

What’s the difference between National’s GCSB Bill and the one passed into law by Helen Clark’s government in 2003?

Given the emotion generated by the current Bill you’d think that someone in the mainstream media would have compared and contrasted the two pieces of legislation.

No-one has so Kiwiblog has done it:

Helen Clark GCSB law 2003 John Key GCSB law 2013
Inspector-General sole independent oversight two person advisory panel to assist the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
Inspector-General has no staff resources Inspector-General has a Deputy
Inspector-General role is essentially reactive Inspector-General to proactively annually review GCSB procedures, policies and compliance and do unscheduled audits
Inspector General not informed when a warrant is put on the register relating to a New Zealander Inspector General is informed when a warrant is put on the register relating to a New Zealander
GCSB can’t intercept the communications of a NZ citizen or permanent resident but can assist “any public authority” on any matter relevant to their functions, and unclear if the former prevents the latter GCSB can’t intercept the communications of a NZ citizen or permanent resident but can assist (only the) Police, Defence Force or SIS even if it involves a NZer.
No reporting of assistance given to other agencies GCSB will be required to report annually on the number of instances when it has provided assistance to the Police, SIS or NZ Defence Force
No reporting on number of warrants and authorisations GCSB will also be required to report annually on the number of warrants and authorisations issued
Intelligence and Security Committee has secret hearings to discuss the financial reviews of the performance of the GCSB and the SIS Intelligence and Security Committee will hold public hearings annually to discuss the financial reviews of the performance of the GCSB and the SIS
ISC does not have to publicly report to Parliament ISC to report annually to Parliament on its activities
No regular reviews of GCSB An independent review of the operations and performance the GCSB and the NZSIS and their governing legislation in 2015, and thereafter every 5-7 years
GCSB has a function to protect any information that any public authority or other entity produces, sends, receives, or holds in any medium GCSB function to protect any communications that any public entity processed, stored, or communicated in or through information infrastructures
No specification of limits of GCSB assistance Specifies that GCSB can assist Police, Defence Force and SIS, but only for lawful activities such as where warrants have been granted
IPCA has no jurisdiction Gives the IPCA and the IGIS jurisdiction to review any assistance given to Police and SIS respectively
No references to according to human rights standards Specifies all functions of GCSB must accord with NZ law, and all human rights standards recognised by NZ law.
No references to not undertaking partisan activity Specifies GCSB can’t be involved in any action that helps or harms a political party
No requirement to brief the Leader of the Opposition GCSB Director required to brief Leader of Opposition regularly on major activities of GCSB
Requires GCSB to destroy any records not relating to GCSB objectives or functions Required GCSB to not retain any information on NZers collected incidentally as part of foreign intelligence operations unless relates to serious crime, loss of life or national security threats
No special protection for legally privileged communications Legally privileged communications explicitly exempted from scope of an interception warrant
No requirement to have a policy on personal information retention and use GCSB required to work with Privacy Commission to have a policy on personal information retention and use 
No restrictions in GCSB Act on retaining personal information GCSB can only retain personal information for a lawful purpose, and can’t keep longer than required for any lawful purpose

The law currently being debated and roundly condemned has a lot more protections than the one it will replace.

Where were all the protesters in 2003?

More to the point why are opposition MPs who voted for the 2003 law opposing the new law with greater protections?

And another question – if the opposition knows this law is so bad why haven’t they laid out exactly what they’ll replace it with when they are eventually in government?


Power prices

April 21, 2013

I was the National Party’s electorate chair when Max Bradford introduced the power reforms.

It wasn’t an easy time to be a volunteer in the party – people inside and outside opposed the changes.

More than a decade later many still regard them as a mistake and blame them for steep increases in the price of power.

But as this graph from Kiwiblog shows, that is wrong.

Electricity-Prices-1982-2012

Labour are saying that it was the Bradford reforms that led to increased prices. in fact the four years after the reforms saw the smallest increases in 25 years.

Also worth noting that of the increases in the last four years, two of them were due to external factors – the GST increase (which had compensating tax cuts) and the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

A variety of factors impact on the price of power.

The most obvious one this graph shows is Labour governments and the LabourGreen plan to nationalise wholesale power could well make that worse.


Act x NZ First

April 3, 2013

The Focus NZ Party, which began life as the Rural Party, has more than 400 of the minimum of 500 members it needs to register as a political party.

The Focus NZ party, headed by Kerikeri farmer and businessman Ken Rintoul, was formed last year around a group of farmers opposed to big rate increases proposed by the Far North District Council. . .

The policies released so far are something of a grab-bag from across the political spectrum, incorporating some of the philosophy and business-friendly approach of Act with a dose of NZ First’s interventionist economic nationalism. . .

Like some other small parties which have started its policies appear contradictory – it wants to cut taxes, which is a business-friendly policy, but it also favours a new tax on international transactions which is business unfriendly.

It’s also opposed to asset sales which isn’t a pro-business stance either.

Fortunately, its chances of being in a position to translate its policies into practice are slight.

Kiwiblog tables the best election results under MMP for parties that didn’t already have an MP in parliament:

  • 99 MPs 0.03%
  • ACT 7.14%
  • Advance NZ 0.05%
  • Animals First 0.17%
  • Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis 1.66%
  • Asia Pacific United 0.02%
  • Bill & Ben 0.56%
  • Christian Heritage 2.38%
  • Christian Coalition 4.33%
  • Conservative 2.65%
  • Democrats for Social Credit 0.08%
  • Destiny 0.62%
  • Direct Democracy 0.03%
  • Ethnic Minority 0.12%
  • Family Party 0.35%
  • Family Rights 0.05%
  • Freedom 0.02%
  • Future NZ 1.12%
  • Green Society 0.11%
  • Kiwi Party 0.54%
  • Libertarianz 0.29%
  • Mana Maori 0.25%
  • Mauri Pacific 0.19%
  • McGillycuddy Serious 0.29%
  • Natural Law 0.15%
  • NMP 0.05%
  • NZ Conservative 0.07%
  • NZ Super & Youth 0.06%
  • One NZ 0.09%
  • Outdoor Recreation 1.28%
  • Pacific Party 0.37%
  • People’s Choice 0.02%
  • Progressive Greens 0.26%
  • RAM 0.02%
  • Republic of NZ Party 0.02%
  • South Island 0.14%
  • Te Tawharau 0.02%
  • Workers Party 0.04%

So of those 38 parties, only ACT have made it in. 31 parties have failed to make even 1% and six parties made 1%. Of those six, four were effectively Christian parties, plus ALCP and Outdoor Recreation.

That list includes the Christian Coalition which was led by sitting, and former National, MP Graeme Lee.

To add evidence of just how difficult it is for a new party to gain traction you could add to that list parties formed by or with at least one sitting MP who failed to win a seat at the next election. Among them was ROC, formed by Ross Meurant who left National to form his own party and who is on the board of Focus NZ.

The 500 members required to form a party is a very low hurdle and Focus NZ will probably find enough people to jump that. Succeeding from there is much harder.

Persuading people to vote for a new party which doesn’t have an MP and is contesting the list vote only takes a lot of volunteers, a lot of good publicity and a lot of money.

Focus NZ  could be seen as a threat to National but there are already plenty of options for people who don’t want to vote for it.

The new party is much more likely to take the disgruntled vote from smaller parties which could hurt them but it would be a safe bet that Focus NZ won’t attract enough support to win even one seat in parliament.


Look what they do with our money

March 13, 2013

We don’t have public funding of political forties parties in New Zealand.

We leave that to their members and supporters.

We do have public funding of MPs to enable them to serve their constituents and do their work in  parliament.

The rules are very clear that this money should not be used for party political activities.

Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.

But Kiwiblog shows that Labour and Green Party have used their parliamentary staff to help get signatures for the petition seeking a referendum on the partial sale of a few state assets.

A mole has leaked to me a couple of strategy documents from Labour and Greens on the referendum they have just purchased with our money. The documents are embedded below, and they show the extent of taxpayer resources used to purchase this referendum.

CIRs are meant to be about the public being able to send a message to MPs, not MPs using taxpayer funds to relitigate an election result. Some key revelations:

>>They aimed for 400,000 signatures as they knew a fair proportion would be found to be invalid.

>>At the 300,000 mark the Greens collected 150,000, Labour 105,000 and Unions 40,000. The Greens are the ones who used taxpayer funding to hire petition collectors.

>>Labour pledged 30 hours per week staff time from their taxpayer funded budget.

>>Greens were using their permament taxpayer funded staff to co-ordinate
The unions had a paid national co-ordinator.

>>They refer to unions gathering “car loads” of organisers and activists to travel to areas.

>>For their day of action, Greens said they will committ five full-time staff – presumably all taxpayer funded, if Labour does the same. That’s 10 taxpayer funded organisers.

>>A list of unions to pressure to do more, including PPTA, NZEI, Nurses Organisation – minority shares in power companies of course being key education and health issues!

It is very clear that there has been very few ordinary citizens involved in this petition – mainly a legion of taxpayer funded staff and union staff. . .

This isn’t a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum. It’s a politicians’s one and you and I have paid for it.


Dodgy numbers

March 4, 2013

Last week Social Development Minister Paula Bennett issued media releases which said the future focus was helping to reduce the number of people on benefits and benefit figures were under forecast.

Yesterday the Herald on Sunday featured Labour’s Jacinda Ardern saying more people were on benefits.

So who’s right?

Kiwiblog has the figures:

Let’s look at the actual data, in terms of increase or decrease each year. For DPB they are

  • 2008 +2,128
  • 2009 +9,007
  • 2010 +3,576
  • 2011 +1,365
  • 2012 -5,112

I think we now understand why Jacinda left the 2012 figures off. What I don’t know if why the Herald on Sunday did.

Let’s do the same with Invalid’s Benefit numbers.

  • 2008 +3,419
  • 2009 +1,537
  • 2010 +67
  • 2011 -1,062
  • 2012 -472

And for those interested in the Unemployment Benefit.

  • 2008 +7,760
  • 2009 +35,820
  • 2010 +756
  • 2011 -7,120
  • 2012 -6,217

They all show the same thing. The increase in benefit numbers started in 2008 (under Labour) and worsened in 2009 as the Global Financial Crisis struck.  Despite patchy economic growth since 2009, benefit numbers in all three categories have fallen in the last two years.

And Lindsay Mitchell provides more analysis which shows Ardern is wrong.

Opposition MPs are supposed to show up government failings but it’s not at all clever to use dodgy stats to do it.

Reporters are supposed to check facts and provide balance, the one who wrote this story failed on both counts.


2012 in review

January 1, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 300,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 5 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

The top referring sites were:

  1. nominister.blogspot.co.nz
  2. kiwiblog.co.nz
  3. nzconservative.blogspot.co.nz
  4. keepingstock.blogspot.co.nz
  5. asianinvasion2006.blogspot.co.nz (Cactus Kate)

The post which got the most comments (51) was water quality concern for all.

The people who made the most comments were:

Robert Guyton # 1 and # 5 is the same person, I think he gets two spots because some comments are linked to his blog and others aren’t.

Thank you all for visiting, those who link and hat tip from their blogs and those who join the conversation.

I appreciate your comments, whether or not I agree with them. A conversation among several is far more interesting than a one-woman diatribe.

I especially appreciate that almost everyone debates the topic and critiques arguments rather than resorting to personal criticism.

I think I had to delete only one comment last year and only rarely had to take a deep breath.

And thanks to WordPress for the blogging platform and excellent service on the very rare occasions I’ve needed help.

Click here to see the complete report.


Change system & incentivise low inflation

December 19, 2012

The Remuneration Authority has recommended a small increase in pay for MPs and that has resulted in the usual carping:

While Christmas is still grim financially for many New Zealanders, politicians – who earn nearly three times the average wage – are about to pocket even more. . .

Good MPs are worth far more than they get.

I have some idea of the challenges my MP Jacqui Dean faces servicing an electorate which covers an area of 34,888 square kilometres as well as chairing a select committee and she more than earns her salary.

Others are overpaid for the little they appear to do but the system doesn’t differentiate for performance, or lack of it.

It’s no use criticising the MPs for the pay increase, the Remuneration Authority is an independent body.

But I would support the change in the system suggested by Kiwiblog :

. . . The easy way to solve this, is what I have long advocated - set the salary and associated terms around three months before each election, for the next term of Parliament.

So MPs would get elected to Parliament for a term, on a known salary which remains constant during that term. . .

That’s simple and fair.

It has the added advantage of incentivising MPs to keep inflation low so they don’t lose the real value of the salaries.

 

 


Another Treaty settlement ticked off

December 8, 2012

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has ticked off another Treaty settlement with the signing of a deed of settlement for all outstanding historical Treaty claims with Ngati Toa Rangatira.

“Today’s settlement highlights the importance of putting the injustices of the past behind us,” Mr Finlayson said. “The actions of the Crown, that included political and military action against the senior Ngati Toa chiefs, ultimately left Ngati Toa virtually landless and without resources in both the North and South Islands. We can never fully compensate for the wrongs of the past but this settlement enables Ngati Toa to build a stronger future.”

The Minister was named MP of the Year by Trans Tasman and topped the NZ Herald’s ministerial rankings.

His record for settling Treaty claims alone is impressive.

Kiwiblog has a chart which shows the productivity of Treaty Negotiations Ministers:

As you can see Doug Graham started them off, and saw through the two largest ones of Ngai Tahu and Tainui, along with a few others in 1999.

Margaret Wilson in four years only managed five agreements, and finished off three of Graham’s.
Mark Burton did just two agreements in three years. So for seven years, there were just eight agreements in principle. At that rate we’d still be negotiating these in 2050!
Michael Cullen did a pretty good job of picking the pace up. He did 12 agreements in just one year!
And Chris Finlayson in four years has done 48 agreements or settlements. We won’t make the goal of having all settlements done by the end of 2014, but we’ll be pretty well advanced towards it.

Even those who are not fans of the settlements, should appreciate the benefits of getting them done sooner or quicker. No party in Parliament (from ACT to Mana) claims these should not happen. . .

Ngai Tahu provides a wonderful example of what happens when an Iwi moves from grievance to growth.

Its Treaty settlement has been put to good use and the investments are not only providing benefits for its own people but are making a significant contribution to the South Island economy and New Zealand.


Spot the contradiction

November 19, 2012

Labour says it wants to make housing more affordable.

It’s even prepared to put public money into building basic houses for first home buyers.

* KiwiBuild: a 10 year programme to build 100,000 basic homes for first home buyers (less than $300,000). In partnership with the private sector and community housing groups.

* Two thirds of the homes built in the first 5 years will be in Auckland. Others will be in other ‘unaffordable’ centres such as Christchurch, Tauranga, Nelson, Wellington and Queenstown.

* Cost: a one-off $1.5 billion initial investment, to be recouped as homes are sold. Will also sell ‘housing affordability bonds.’

Though as Kiwiblog points out that $1.5 billion doesn’t take in into account the cost of interest.

Cactus Kate points out it doesn’t appear to be means tested.

That would, like several of the bribes from the last Labour government, mean help for those who don’t necessarily need it.

Another flaw in this policy is the contradiction between this attempt to make housing more affordable and the commitment to a capital gains tax which would make property more expensive.

It’s not the only contradiction from Labour’s weekend conference. The party also voted to reduce the voting age to 18 16 although it wanted to increase the purchase age for alcohol to 20.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,159 other followers

%d bloggers like this: